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During appeal on bail, Assange back in the big house

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a target of U.S. ire for releasing secret cables, returned to a London jail yesterday pending an appeal over a decision to free him on 200,000 pound ($317,400) bail for alleged sex crimes.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a target of U.S. ire for releasing secret cables, returned to a London jail yesterday pending an appeal over a decision to free him on 200,000 pound ($317,400) bail for alleged sex crimes.

British judge Howard Riddle had initially granted Assange bail but prosecutors, representing Swedish authorities, challenged the decision before the 39-year-old Australian had left the court in central London.

“An appeal will be held within the next 48 hours and you will remain in custody,” the judge told Assange, who nodded and said, “I understand,” before being led from the dock by security guards.

Assange, who has spent a week in solitary con­finement in London’s Wands­worth prison, is fighting attempts to extradite him to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sexual misconduct made by two female Wiki­Leaks volunteers, accusations he denies. An extradition hearing is set for Jan. 11.

Mark Stephens, a lawyer for Assange, accused Swedish authorities of persecuting him. “This is really turning into a show trial,” he told reporters.

He called Assange “an innocent man sitting in Dickensian conditions, Victorian conditions in Wands­­worth jail.”

 
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